Israeli warplanes bombed three targets in the Gaza Strip Monday before dawn in response to at least six rockets that were fired toward Israel Sunday night, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit said.
"In response to the numerous rockets launched at Israel in the past several hours, IAF (Israel Air Force) aircraft targeted terrorist infrastructure including two weapon storage facilities in the central Gaza Strip and a rocket launch site in the southern Gaza Strip. IAF pilots reported accurate strikes on the targets," the army said in a statement.
Israeli Army Radio said that at least six rockets were fired toward Israel Sunday night. Two of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome system in the Ashkelon region. Four other rockets exploded in open areas in the Bnei Shimon region in the northern Negev, and in the Netivot area.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the military, described the rocket fire as an intolerable act of aggression against Israel and its civilians. He also said that Hamas is held accountable for all acts of terrorism deriving from the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli army is "determined to safeguard" Israel.
The army also said Israel's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories would be closing the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing until further notice.
Additionally, another spokesman for Israel’s military forces said Israel would only allow emergency humanitarian cases through the Erez passenger crossing.
Israeli news networks blamed the Islamic Jihad for the rocket attacks, although no group claimed responsibility.
Palestinian witnesses said the air raids hit tunnels beneath the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, in addition to four sites belonging to the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, in Rafah. No casualties, but great damages, were reported.
Furthermore, since the early hours of Monday, Israeli warplanes carried out many mock raids in northern Gaza, as F16 aircraft planes flew low over in areas west of the city of Rafah in the southern region of the Strip.
It’s worth noting here that the recent escalation against the Israeli territory came hours after Islamic Jihad movement announced that it was temporarily suspending ties with , accusing Gaza authorities of being responsible for shooting and killing of Raed Qassim Jundeyeih, a member of Islamic Jihad's militant wing, the Al-Quds Brigades in a confrontation with Hamas police forces.
The Islamic Jihad said in a statement that Jundeyeih, 38, died Sunday at noon of injuries suffered Saturday after being shot in the head by Hamas forces.
The Islamic Jihad added that by killing Jundeyeih, the security forces of Hamas granted Israel a free service whether it intended to or not.
Later, Hamas claimed through it's TV and website that Jundeyeih was killed by a bullet that misfired from his own pistol. This claim was denied by witnesses who have confirmed that the killing was deliberate.
No one in Gaza believes that the Islamic Jihad is responsible for this escalation, despite its disagreement with Hamas. People in Gaza believe that these missiles were launched by Ahmed Jibril's group, which is trying to ignite the Gaza front with Israel, thinking that this will reduce the media focus on the Syrian regime's crimes.
It is worth mentioning that some Palestinian factions have linked the rocket firing and the news stating that Israel's intelligence agency Mossad abducted the Palestinian 'Wael Abu Reida', in the Egyptian Sinai, whereas the kidnapping operation has been carried out in the Egyptian territories with the help of spies working for the Mossad. It is also believed that 'Abu Reida' had relations with armed groups firing rockets at Israel from the Sinai.
Tension still prevails over the atmosphere of Gaza Strip. Perhaps the coming hours will witness more escalation.